Temporarily Homeschooling for Financial Reasons...

Updated on August 04, 2012
B.J. asks from Los Angeles, CA
13 answers

I'm a stay at home mom of 4. Like very many, my husband struggled for years to find a job that would properly support our family. He is now at a very good company, and his pay only gets better as he stays longer. We are now able to slowly get back on our feet, moved out of my parents' place and currently renting in an ok area.

So now, I'm thinking of homeschooling 3 of my kids for a year (maybe two) to help my husband and I save for a down payment on a house. They currently attend a private catholic school, I prefer not to put them in a public school, and it's too late to place them in a charter school for this incoming school year. My husband says it's totally up to me since I will be the one with them everyday 24/7. I've homeschooled my eldest daughter before 5 years ago and it can be challenging. I'm feeling guilty about pulling them away from their friends at their current school. The principal is trying to work with us with tuition but there's only so much that can be done. I think the only way to achieve our goal is to home school, save the money we would normally pay for tuition. I'm more worried about keeping them busy with activities. Taking them places like the museum, the parks, libraries, etc. I want them to be active with other kids with little to no fees if possible. My sister said I can enroll them for only the music classes at our local public schools. Is this true? Am I being selfish about taking them out? I know they'll still keep their friends at their current school. The parents there are awesome about staying in touch with former students so I know I can do playdates on the weekends.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I read each one and considered what was all said. I just want to clarify that I home schooled my eldest daughter when she was in kinder and 1st grade, she'll now enter 6th. It was challenging but I have no regrets and I loved how she was far ahead academically than most kids in school. She was very social with adults at a very young age unlike her 3 siblings who I tried to home school but would just sit there and cry. I prefer not to send them to a public school because the local ones here are very poor and the teachers don't really seem to care. I sent my son to a public preschool and the principal kept switching out the teachers and didn't seem to care how the assistants were teaching the kids how to spell words wrong.

I do ask what my kids want but in the end, my husband and I are the ones who have to make the final decision. Kids at this age only know what they want now, not what will make their lives better in the long run. My kids do want a house, they do know the difference. We used to live in a huge home before the economy went to the craps and they constantly talk about how they missed having their own space. I explained to them how everyone in the family will have to sacrifice if we want to get a house again. We just need to work on a down payment and the rest will be ok once we have our foot in the door.

My niece and nephew were both home schooled til junior high. My nephew will be starting college next month with a full scholarship to Santa Clara University majoring in engineering. My niece (16) is always on the top of her class and well on her way to following her brother's footsteps. They both adore their parents, are very respectful to themselves and others, and have no regrets about home schooling. They were both pulled out of catholic school at a young age to home school. I think it's all on how the parents handle their children, I don't think home schooling will cause a child to become surly.

I guess I'm more worried about pulling them out of a school they love but the way I see it, I can do play dates and they would still be able to attend their friends parties. I can now afford to place them in music, martial arts, and any other extra curricular activity they would like to join. I know home schooling would be best. Once I put my mind into something I usually have a game plan and I can be very organized with scheduling.

Oh by the way, I do have a job. I have an online business that earns enough to support a single person plus I am a wedding coordinator on the side. I do contribute financially to this family. I love it because I can work on my own terms and not have to worry so much about getting time off for the kids' needs.

Again, thank you all for your input. I think I'm feeling better about the decision we're making with home schooling. It's just been awhile for me. As parents we do what we can to provide the best for our kids.

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

My daughters friend was homeschoold and went to public school for P.E., music and art. There are so many homeschoolers now that you should be able to find others to socialize with. By me there are opportunities to socialize thru roller skating rinks, YMCA, home school co ops etc. I am confident you will find ways to make it thru.

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answers from Seattle on

If you're planning on them going back to the catholic school, you've got it fairly easy in some respects, because you know exactly where you want them to be in a year. (Also, will probably get there in 3-6 mo).

I WOULD take some of their school tuition budget and reserve it for 'school break camps'. My son usually did drama camp or sports camp... During winter, midwinter, spring, and summer break. It's a week to yourself that you can do nothing but stare at a wall one day, do a bunch of projects the next, and set up for the upcoming quarter in peace.

SIMILARLY, I arranged 1 afternoon off each week (lunch to dinner) for some self time

Homeschooling is a little backwards, in that you have to set up time AWAY from your kids (instead of the reverse, setting up time with)

In 5 years, we only did the co-op thing ONCE, we just didn't have TIME! Days fill very, very quickly with lessons, classes, and friends. The 's' word just cracks me up. My son was Sooooooooo much more social while homeschooling than in public school!

Is it selfish to homeschool? Sort of. You want your kids to have a stellar education. That's selfish.

But it's certainly not WRONG!

Every single year in Awayschool (public, private, parochial, charter, day school, boarding school... Pick your flavor)... Kids are 'taken away from their friends' and we don't bat an eye. It's because class makeup changes every year. Unless you just luck out that friend A is in class B... How do they stay friends? The. Same. Way. They. Do. Homeschooling. By setting up playdates.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

As many, many people in this day and age can and will tell you, home ownership is no longer the American Dream. As a matter of fact, for many it has become the American Nightmare :(
Put your kid's education first. If they are happy and thriving where they are, why change it? Just to go from renting to owning a house, and all the tremendous burden that comes along with that?
If you were challenged schooling one child you ALREADY know how challenging it will be with three.
It just doesn't sound worth it to me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

It says you are in Los Angeles, so I have some good resources for you. I have never heard of public schools in our area letting kids do music classes, because we are Los Angeles Unified. The only thing I have heard of is that some schools have Independent Study programs and with that your kids can play high school sports sometimes at those schools, like Redondo Union High.
Anyway, I would recommend you join the South Bay Homeschool Network and ask that question on the yahoo loop. There are some really knowledgable homeschool moms there who will know what is available in the Los Angeles area.
Also, we just joined a Christian homeschool academy with 250 families (!), and we have co-op type classes every other Friday plus a lot of other organized activities (park days, field trips, etc.). If you are interested and want the name and phone number of the academy, please message me.
I think the entire years tuition cost $375 total. Which includes record keeping and the academy days.
I don't think you are being selfish if you are willing to homeschool, but I would recommend YOU really be sure you want to homeschool for more than just financial reasons, or you might burn out really fast. Personally, I really enjoy homeschooling and having the privlege of being the main influence in my children's daily lives, instead of them being "raised" by their peers and whatever teacher they happen to get at school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reno on

We're in our 6th year of homeschooling, and LOVE it.

At least in our state, the public schools are required to let homeschooled kids take electives - music, art, theater - or sports at the school they are zoned for, without extra cost. Of course, if there's lab fees, uniform requirements, etc., the parents must cover those costs.

We also participate in homeschool co-ops, with classes taught by parent volunteers or professionals. Sessions are usually 10 weeks, and cost much less than taking music, dance or other lessons somewhere else.

There's so many opportunities for free or inexpensive homeschool field trips in our area - Google to see what's available in yours! Often, you or your kids will be free if you sign up a certain number of participants for something. You are virtually guaranteed a group rate or the same rate the schools pay when you organize or attend a field trip at a museum, theater, aquarium etc.

One year, between Scouts, clubs, church groups, co-op and the like, my kids had some group activity 5 to 6 days a week. Plus, it was in smaller groups, with involved parents, so the kids learned more than most kids can in a large classroom setting.

Good luck, and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Can you talk to your diocese to see if they have any grants to help with the tuition?

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I can tell you that my friend took her kids out of a wonderful private school and home schooled them due to finances. I can tell you they are so unhappy with their lives now. They got depressed and hated their parents. They are surly teens now who are headed for who knows what.

I can honestly say though. If education is so important, that it MUST come from a private school, then why aren't you looking for work? If the 3 kids are going to be in school all day then you can go to work so you can pay for the private school.

So, if you really think public school is the worst thing for your kids, go to work, get a job and bring some income in to pay for the private education you want for them. Which is more important? You being at home all day with the kids or one child being in child care and you helping your whole family by bringing in a paycheck.

You could even find work in child care if you are good at that. Perhaps you could go to work for the kids school in some way. They may need someone to help in lots of ways.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Hi! Welcome to the wonderful world of homeschooling. Homeschooling is a way of life, not a "thing" you do.
Look here: http://www.homefires.com/
The woman behind all this amazing information lives in CA and can point you toward some good resources.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have to ask...What do THEY want? You talk about what YOU want (money, house.) You say it's OUR goal, but it's not. It's YOUR goal. The adults. How do your children feel about this. REALLY feel? I plan on homeschooling my son. He is 3 and we are starting preschool this year. It is MY goal to homeschool him. If he ever decides this is not for him, he is not happy, he doesn't thrive, or he feels he needs school...I will find a way to get him into school. You see, it's not about ME.

With that said, if you really think this is what your children want/need...look for a homeschool co-op in your area. I belong to one. There is a group of us (about 15 kids) that do field trips together, learning activities, and what not. It's a great way to socialize for the kids, and gives them that routine of seeing the same friends often. The goal is always to have things think be as low cost, as possible. We also have people to talk to about difficulties, advice, help, etc. A support system is really great, with like minded people. I know our city has all kinds of very low cost/free activities at libraries (for all ages,) recreation centers, and city centers. Check your city website and library for brochures and things.

What's funny, is the families (with older children) I know that homeschool...have the most socially healthy kids I know. I actualy think their social experiences are more real world, and meaningful. People have this idea that homeschooled children are awkward and not very social. SO not the truth!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Selfish??? OMG homeschooling is the EXACT OPPOSITE. Self-LESS. They are only little for a little while. We didn't have kids so other people could raise them. It goes so fast.

Our kids are so social we can't get them to shut up! In fact, for a family homeschool field trip up to Fort Bragg on the Skunk Train, my son was talking to this family and the dad came up to me, "Do you homeschool?" Panic struck me, "Yep, why?" He replied, "The only kids I know who talk to adults are home schooled kids. Most kids can only seem to talk with other kids and never adults." WOW)

You'll also find that homeschooling is easier than even taking them to school and dealing with all of the BS. Everyone thinks it's so hard and I can tell you, I was terrified to do, but felt it was the right decision and it has been so easy. (I work and homeschool, so I'm not home all day...and it's still pretty darn easy.)

We pulled our very bright son out of school after kindergarten. We tried a private school for 1.5 years for Pre-K and then a dual immersion public school for K. He excelled at both, but hated school. He use to ask a million questions and was very inquisitive, but after school started he didn't want to know anything. Ugggg.

We pulled him out at 5 yo. He finished 1st grade in 2 months. I was sure I missed something. Nope. I went back over everything and even checked in with the state's requirements and spent another 2 months going back over it. Yep, he was done. Moved on to 2nd grade and slowed down from 4 hours each day of school to 1 hour. It took him 7 months to complete 2nd grade. Now we have a 9 year old going into 6th grade. We only do an hour of work each day because if I did any more, he'd be so far ahead academically, that the girls would eat him alive socially.

We also have 3 other kids. Our 6 yo son is very intelligent, but a boy. He'll do the minimum necessary to go outside and play. Our barely 4 year old daughter wants to do work. She can spell incredibly well and is 35% done with K math. She might end up passing our 6yo son this next year.

They all do TaeKwonDo, swimming and soccer. They are together all day long and LOVE IT. If someone is missing, they know.

We belong to 2 different homeschool groups, so we pick and choose what we want to do with each, if anything.

We use our money for field trips and LOVE that we get the time with them. We just took our kids on a a 2 week field trip to the East Coast. Instead of being completely bored in school, we discussed all of the places we were going and then once we got there, each kids came up with a fact or two regarding the history, even the 4 yo. At one point, we were at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass. The kids acted out the battle there. Our oldest represented the British trying to push west and the 2 younger were the Colonists pushing the British back to Boston. They had fun chasing their older brother back over the bridge where they ended up shooting him and the oldest fell to the ground "dead". We went to Walden Pond. We saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, OMG so many things. The kids had a blast and I actually learned things! I found that my private AND public school education (as well as 3 degrees later) did not teach me the absolute awesome-ness (LOL) of history.

You can put your kids in any classes in public school that you want, regardless of what some ignorant employee will tell you. I have a friend who is a guidance counselor at a middle school and she had no idea! She checked into it and sure enough, I was right. ;)

DO get a membership with the HSLDA. It's $100, but WELL worth it.

PS Forget the down payment. We sold our house and moved into a rental and LOVE having no stress. Plus we have not seen the bottom of the market and the dollar has devalued a huge amount just in the past few years. Save some money for a rainy day, but take those kids places. I promise you, you will never forget it....and neither will they.

Feel free to contact me about anything...seriously.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Some of us never had a private school option financially, so don't feel bad! I chose to homeschool knowing how much more academic material can be covered in less time with lots of time left over for socializing-as you know from schooling your first. My whole extended family homeschools and most of the high school kids take local college classes by 10th/11th grade with high test scores and scholarships, they've never had trouble socializing and also hold jobs since they have less hours of school...however, you sound like you didn't love the experience with your daughter-and it is tough, so it will be tougher on you with three.

Two suggestions: See if your area has a homeschool network. Mine has one that is so busy, we do TOO MANY group educational activities and fun things...we've been to every park, museum, exhibit, safety day, coal mine, cave, farm, you name it...tomorrow is Ecology Day in the next town to collect water critters...HUNDREDS of things. All posted online for free, you go to what you want. My kids have really good friends through this. This year I'll have to cut back on group stuff though just to fit in more academics for the curriculum I go by.

Another option is get a hold of superior curriculums for the grade levels of your children, figure out the amount of material you want them to be sure to cover (great guide is The Well Trained Mind-this alone will help you see if you can possibly manage teaching that much material or if they'd be better off at school) and send them to pubic school and supplement the information they're not getting. That way they won't fall behind or get too "isolated" if you're worried about that.

My kids have music lessons, French lessons, Tae Kwon Do, countless homeschool activities, and are all currently two grade levels ahead-my 4 year old son already reads just by seeing his sister go through kindergarten last year at home. My three year old knows a lot of kindergarten level stuff. We live at the library, and that's free.

If the kids are open to public school-and you live near a decent one (that DEPENDS on your area BIG TIME) then you could try that for a semester.



answers from Minneapolis on

I would keep your children in school and rent for now. For the kids, I don't think they care if you rent or own, that is your goal. Another option you do not mention is you getting a job and saving that money for a down payment. Or look into inexpensive homes to buy, there are many that are in fact cheaper to buy than rent in this market.

I'm not against home schooling, but it does take a lot and it sounds like you are hesitant about it and only thinking about doing it for the savings.



answers from Washington DC on

I would look for a homeschooling co-op and see what they offer before you make a final choice. Would some of your kids benefit most from being homeschooled? Would it help to save one tuition out of three? Are there any other changes (maybe selling a car and buying used outright to eliminate payments) that you could make so you could afford both? Not all kids in a family have to do the same things.

When my DH was looking at taking the kids out of private school, he ultimately went with public because homeschooling was not an option. He considered keeping SS in private school but he couldn't afford even one tuition at a new school and the old school closed. It ended up being fine. I don't know your reasons for keeping them out of public school, but you might look into school choice if the issue is that you don't like the school in your neighborhood. Sometimes you can make arrangements as long as you transport them, for example.

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